By Janet Gemberling
I can’t recall when the construction began, but I do know it has taken countless years to create this masterpiece. All the blood, sweat and tears I endured in its building. I poured every ounce of myself into it. I step back and survey this magnificent wall I have fashioned of my design. Odd-shaped stones, some bigger than others, each labeled each with its own name. The mortar was secure leaving just a few holes to peer through to view the “other side.” It really is a sight, I thought, as my finger traced the words “Failure of my first dream.” My eyes looked a bit higher and read “First humiliation at grade school.” These were with me on “my side” of the wall, where only I could see them. These were all mine, my safety, my shelter and my familiar companions. Always keeping me shielded from the “other side.”
Impressed with such a mighty wall, I was lost in my memories when I heard the Helper who had recently showed up, “Are you done yet?” Confused but not wanting another long explanation of what I was doing here I simply quipped, “I don’t want to pressure myself with an end date.” The Helper was neither amused nor disappointed. The Helper replied as always, “I will wait for you.” This always puzzled me. I am never sure what the Helper wants from me, and I don’t know why the Helper arrived here on my side of the wall in the first place. This continued on and on for days, and the days turned into months. I was lying on the ground looking all the way up to the top of my wall, again admiring my handiwork when I first heard it. A soft, barely audible sob. I looked through my little peep-hole, but I could not see anyone. I asked several times who was there, but only the sobs were heard. I asked the Helper, “Who was sobbing?” The Helper looked at the wall and replied, “I can’t see through the wall.” I tried several times to engage the sobbing one so I could share some comfort or some encouragement. Nothing helped, and after what seemed a lifetime, the sobbing ceased.
I looked to the Helper asking, “What was that about? This never happened before You came to my side.” The Helper replied, “Are you ready yet?” I simply chose not to respond this time. Surveying the wall after adding my latest stone carved with the words “I have failed my son,” I heard a whisper that terrified me. The whisper was pleading for help. The whisper needed a safe place, it needed to hide. It was in dire straits, I could tell. I grabbed a stone and tried to make an entry, but the stones collapsed covering the entry. I continued to pull stones, but to no avail. The whispering stopped.
After working at such an exhausting pace, I just fell to my knees. I could see there was a problem now-no doors. One just big enough to crawl through should do. I began re-shaping my wall. trying to fashion my crawl through, but every attempt produced only another cave-in. The Helper watched as though anticipating my success. “Are you ready yet?” I was not completely sure what He meant. I finally asked, “Why can’t I help them?” For the first time the Helper seemed to smile, then He spoke so gently, so sweetly, “This wall you have erected took so much from you. These stones, they lead to your death.” I could not hide my complete shock. “It is supposed to protect and save me. I …” The Helper was patiently shaking His head. “You must understand what I say. Your stones have become your trapping. You were made to fellowship and help your brothers and sisters. Instead you have taken all the pain, suffering, lies and have isolated the only one who knew how to help, the one who wept and the one full of fear. Your brokenness laid a path for those to find you. The time is now. You must break down your wall and let healing begin.” Stunned, I gazed at my Helper, really seeing Him for the first time, the blood, the dirt, the scars in His hands. In that moment I knew I had no right to hold on to my stones, my heartaches and heart breaks, all the failures and lies. I watched as the Helper picked up one of my stones. “Will you give this to Me?” His eyes pierced my very being. “And this one?” I nodded, I was paralyzed in wonder. Watching the stones fall and crumble. Every time He asked, I complied. How could I possibly hold on to my stones as though they were treasures?
The stones are mostly gone now. The Helper has never left me. Together, we are tearing down my wall bit by bit and day by day. In its place, He has fashioned for me a bridge, but He carves new words on my stones: forgiven, faithfulness, kindness, love and peace. I found the weeping woman and held her close. I shared my pain and walked with her to the Helper. The Helper gave me another stone for my bridge with the word hope written on it. Just a few more and I will be able to reach the whisperer. She has seen me now, my hand reaching out to her. My Helper also is standing by her side.
About Janet Gemberling
Janet Gemberling is a happily-married mother with four sons and lives west of Denver. She has written women’s bible studies, been involved as a vocalist in Music Ministry, and has written church holiday programs. Eager to follow God, Janet, at five years old, walked to church for Sunday school by herself. Janet loves and encourages interaction with her readers. “Not every event is joyful, but you can bring joy to every event.”